Third Time's the Charm

I've written two lengthy, entertaining posts and then somehow lost them in the bowels of my computer.  Not that my computer has bowels, mind you.  But somewhere between trying to add a picture and messing with saving drafts I've lost the details of me struggling with the hardest book I've ever written, only to emerge triumphant, not to mention a discussion of craziness and food and the secrets to the universe, now gone forever.

But I figure I'll try once more and if it screws up I'll beat my head against the wall (but it's too gorgeous in Northern Vermont to do that).  However, I won't mess with photos or save drafts or anything like that -- I don't trust this program.

First, I have to tell you the THE DEMON COUNT and THE DEMON COUNT'S DAUGHTER are on sale this month at Amazon for only $1.99  I wrote them together, back to back, and tried to sell them as one book, but Dell split them apart into two and they worked very well that way.  THE DEMON COUNT is better known -- there's a faux vampire wandering around Venice, back when there weren't many vampires, faux or otherwise, around.  It's steamy and sexy and suspenseful. THE DEMON COUNT'S DAUGHTER is much lighter, with a brooding hero, of course, but comic supporting characters like Tonetti, the gigolo cum gondolier.

And of course, the best book I've written (has to be in my top five) came out at the end of May.  CONSUMED BY FIRE has sex, violence, and surprising humor (according to RT the humor is surprising -- I aways thought I was pretty funny in a dark way).  It's getting lovely reviews (except from the prudes) and frankly, I don't get much better than this.  So I'm feeling very clever and talented and happy.

I've turned DRIVEN BY FIRE in and so far my editor loves it!  So now I'm hunkering down with Brandon and Emma (finally!) to give them their happy ever after.  Plus it's theater time again, and this year we're doing KISS ME KATE, which will be a blast.  So I've got a busy summer ahead of me, full of wonderful things to do.  Now if I could just stop eating Reduced Fat Wheat Thins!

So it Goes

I've been writing like mad ... well, maybe that's an overstatement.  But I've gotten at least 1500 words done each day, and the book has taken shape.  Right now my hero has just climbed into bed with my heroine,w which is problematic since earlier in the day he hurt her to get information out of her and she's understandably furious and a little frightened.  I'm not quite sure what's going to happen next, but it's bound to be interesting.

I tend to make these things up as I go along.  Oh, I have a general idea of where things are going -- it's like planning a trip.  I know the destination and the stops along the way, but I'm not sure how I'll get there.  It's much more interesting that way, even if it's a bit harder.

I was stuck on this book for a long time, mainly due to the physical problems I was having. I have a frozen shoulder and I couldn't type for almost four months (or barely) so I was dictating and writing long hand and having long waits in between.  So it took a while for the book to come together.  Now that it's taking off (and typing isn't so painful) I'm loving it, but I have that due date looming over my shoulder.

I went down to visit Jenny Crusie, my BFF, and I was hoping that together we'd brainstorm the end of the book and I could just write my assignment for each day.  It seemed like such a lovely, simple way to write a book.  Alas, the book started coming on its own, and I'm back to my wicked old ways of flying into the mist as Jo Beverley calls it. I'm like a trapeze artist -- I swing and leap and hope something's there to catch me.

It always has been, so I have faith.  But in the meantime life is getting in the way (my mother BFF was hit by a car a couple of days ago and I'm desperate to go and see her but she already has a hoard (horde?) of family gathering round and they don't need somebody else.  So I sent the family cupcakes to cheer them and I'll go out when she starts her recovery, which will probably be long and tedious.  That's when she can use me.

In the meantime, I'd better finish the damned book.  Because Emma and Brandon are waiting in the wings now, ready to step on stage, and there's a gothic set in Spain that I'm dying to write, and an art forger in the 1930s, and an RAF pilot and the wife of a conscientious objector during WWII, and another FIRE book, and all sorts of goodies just waiting to pop out.


Two Weeks Later

So far, so good.  I'm avoiding the bad stuff, though perhaps not stringently enough.  Feeling restless and edgy and yet no energy, which makes me think I need food.  Sigh.

Here's the ugly truth.  Yesterday I had a Kashi protein bar, lunch was 2 pieces of whole-wheat bread and nitrate free turkey (no fats added), dinner was turkey chili with about 1/4c cheese and 6 whole grain chips crushed plus a whole avocado, 18 reduced fat wheat thins, an orange, a kind bar and a Trader Joe's bar (those two bars were at 11 pm when I couldn't sleep and went downstairs).

So, the two bars were not healthy (well, they weren't unhealthy but not needed).  I ate dinner early, which is a good thing.  I didn't need two pieces of bread at lunch, but I'm sticking to the whole grain chips and entire avocado.  

I think I need more protein for breakfast, a salad for lunch and more veggies at dinner (though the turkey chili was no added fat, black beans and tomatoes so that was pretty good.)  And no late night snacking.

tonight it's Costco chicken and asparagus.  Lunch is Japanese food, so that's all good (no tempura).  Breakfast -- 1/2 bagel with natural peanut butter.  Or a smoothie?  I need to get a set breakfast menu -- a good way to start the day.

The scale said 245.2.  I think that's down a couple of pounds, but I forget what it was.  I think I'll hunker down and be severe so I can get into the 230s, and that'll give me encouragement to keep going.  It's easy to take off weight in the beginning when you're as big as me, so it's a reasonable goal (two weeks?).

In the meantime I'm wrestling with the most recalcitrant book ever, but I finally found The Key. I wrote about 1/3 of the book, good stuff, but it felt empty.  Characters were doing interesting stuff but there was a hole in the middle and I couldn't figure out what.  I knew there was a key to the whole thing that would suddenly make it make sense, but no matter how much I tried to force it I couldn't come up with the answer.  And then, praise God, it finally dropped.  My bickering, lusting, flirting characters are not bickering or flirting and only reluctantly lustful.  They're enemies.

And everything falls into place.  It means I had to rewrite the entire sucker up to this point for the second time.  Funny thing -- my favorite books are the ones that practically write themselves, that feel as if they're dictated by God.  The books that win prizes and sell the best are the ones that give me fits and I have to rewrite and rewrite.

I still prefer the easy ones, but if previous experience holds true then I'm writing a masterpiece.


One Week Later

At least I think it's been a week later.  I've been good.  Managing protein (eggs or oatmeal) for breakfast and no sausages or bacon (at lot of the days we've been in motels with breakfast available).  At dinner I'm skipping starch if I can, we're having whole wheat sandwiches with no fat and lots of carrot sticks, a small handful of nuts, no more beer (wahhhh!).  I did do two wicked things but they were necessary.

I went out to lunch with at Cuoco, a Tom Douglas restaurant, and they had a blood orange soda.  I used blood oranges in a pivotal scene in BLACK ICE, so I've always had a great affection for them, so it was a spiritual necessity.   And then my editors told me that Cuoco had the most amazing coconut cream pie, if I happened to like coconut.  I LOVE COCONUT.  So I had a fall from grace, and it was worth every bite, but then at dinner that night I was good again and have been from then on.

That's the difference when you're in the zone.  You don't take one slip as permission to go on a binge for the day, and then keep slipping day after day.  One slip and then back on the horse.  I'm so tired of feeling tired.  I want to dance!

We're heading back to VT tomorrow, back to the snow.  It's barely rained while we've been in the PNW, so I don't think we got a clear sense of the weather, nor a clear sense of where we'd want to live, but we're getting closer to decision.  All I need is a view and I can write anywhere.

With or without coconut cream pie.

Two Days Later

So far so good.  Oatmeal with nuts and fruit for breakfast, whole grain crackers counted out, non-fat sandwich for lunch.  Dinner's more challenging because we're eating out, but basically I'm making smart choice.  We went to a Mexican restaurant last night and I had fajitas.  (Truth in advertising department -- I also had a passion fruit margarita).  Today I'm keeping on with the plan (third day).

And the plan is basically Mediterranean/low carb.  Only complex carbo hydrates, lots of veggies and salads and fruit. Lean meat and legumes.  If I can do it on the road and staying in my SIL's house then doing it at home should be a piece of cake.

I'm really feeling in the zone, too.  Not tempted by treats, etc. Tomorrow we go to Trader Joe's and that might be painful, but I'll survive.  And we have lunch at my friend Naki's, so I'll just have to make smart choices.

But praise the lord I feel ready!!!  I can do this, I can feel better, I can enjoy the things around me instead of sitting.

Life is a banquet, and it tastes a lot better than food.